Back to News

MagnaPharm in Nijmegen

Members of the TEMUL group involved in the European funded MagnaPharm project traveled to the oldest city in The Netherlands; Nijmegen, to rendez-vous with researchers from Radboud University, University College London and the University of Bristol, to review the current progress of the project.
  • Prof Ursel Bangert
  • Dr Jennifer Cookman

Members of the TEMUL group involved in the European funded MagnaPharm project travelled to the oldest city in The Netherlands; Nijmegen, to rendezvous with teams from Radboud University, University College London (UCL) and the University of Bristol (UoB), to review the current progress of the project.

The evening before the meeting, project partners met in MANNA restaurant in Nijmegen where they shared a delicious meal, and the group welcomed new members. Radboud University opened their doors bright and early the following morning to convene the first formal assembly of the MagnaPharm consortium for 2018. Each of the core groups' principal investigators gave a summary of their progress to date, sparking discussion of future milestones.

The project's focus is to direct polymorphism in the pharmaceutical industry by applying magnetic fields to materials during the crystallisation process. Polymorphs of the same material exhibit different properties and could be suitable for improved medical applications. Polymorphism can also be a hinderence in drug design, where polymorphs have been observed to change from one form to another during manufacture and storage.

The Bristol group demonstrated the technique's potential by growing a previously unknown polymorph of the polyaromatic hydrocarbon coronene. Fundamentally understanding the mechanism behind the nucleation and growth will allow us to predict which materials will exhibit different polymorphs when grown in magnetic fields, which would revolutionise the pharmaceutical industry. Our Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM), specialised holders capable of in-situ experiments and detector with complementary camera capable of taking up to 1600 frames per second will be crucial in determining the mechanisms of nucleation and growth by means of observing the processes as they occur.

Upon closure of the meeting and fruitful discussions, Dr Hans Engelkamp hosted a tour of their high field magnet laboratories. An elaborate and impressive setup, consisting of a massive 4.5 million litre underground water reservoir used to cool their magnetic cells with field strengths up to 38 T. Researchers at Radboud University are currently working on materials such as soft condensed matter and semiconductors.

The day was concluded with planning future meetings and medium to long-term objectives which motivated the TEMUL team to hit the ground running upon their return to Limerick.

Although the brief introduction to Nijmegen showed the city's aesthetics, 24 hours was not enough to truly investigate it, and many of us are looking forward to returning.

More like this...

Real-Time TEM Observation of the Role of Defects on Nickel Silicide Propagation in Silicon Nanowires

In situ TEM evidence of nonuniform Ni diffusion and silicide retardation in…

Institute of Physics: Three Minute Wonder Competition

PhD student Eileen Courtney travelled to the Royal Institution in London in…

TEMUL student Eileen Courtney featured in Nature Career Article

TEMUL student Eileen Courtney was featured in an article in Nature Career…